Fukushima Disaster: New Radiation Spikes and Long Term Health Effects

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For those people in the most contaminated location: , the estimated increased risk over what is normally expected includes

The Fukushima power plant, seen in the distance has been upgraded to a level three incidence. Image by Asacyan.

The Fukushima power plant, seen in the distance has been upgraded to a level three incidence. Image by Asacyan.

  • Experts estimage an increase of four percent in cancers that cause tumors in females that were exposed as infants.
  • Experts estimate an increase in six percent in breast cancer for females who were exposed as infants.
  • Experts estimate an increase of about seven percent of leukemia for males who were exposed as infants.

The biggest increase in cancer is thyroid cancer. For females exposed as infants, the estimated increased risk is 70 percent. The normal lifetime risk for females getting thyroid cancer is 0.75 percent. For those people living in the second-most contaminated areas, the risk of cancer is about half of those living in the most contaminated area.

The report also looks at cancer risk for emergency workers. Researchers found that about two-thirds of emergency workers are estimated to have the same risk for cancer as the general population, while one-third of those workers are at an increased risk of developing cancer.

As for those in Japan and the rest of the world, the experts say that they don’t expect any observable increase in cancers due to the Fukushima disaster.

The report also states that the radiation exposure is not expected to cause any increase in the incidence of miscarriage, stillbirths, and other mental and physical conditions that can affect babies born after the disaster.

The report also notes that the psychosocial impact of the accident may have consequences on the health and well-being of those affected by the disaster.

Fukushima Dangers: What’s the Verdict?

TEPCO reported that one of the tanks had leaked 300 tons of toxic water last month, which prompted the increase to a level three disaster. Japan plans to spend about $470 million to fix the issue.

As toxic water continues to leak out, the health effects of the Fukushima disaster will still remain unclear for years to come, as researchers monitor the health of those affected by the disaster, as well as the safety of the food and water supply in Japan.

Resources:

CBS News. Japan upgrades Fukushima nuclear leak to “serious incident,” slams plant operator for late response. (2013). Accessed September 5, 2013.

CNN. Radiation level spikes further near toxic water tanks at Japan’s Fukushima plant. (2013). Accessed September 5, 2013.

Delaware Health and Social Services. Radiation from Cesium-137. (2008). Accessed September 5, 2013.

Sheldrick, A., Saito, M. Record radiation readings near Fukushima contaminated water tanks. September 4, 2013. Reuters. Accessed September 5, 2013.

World Health Organization. Global report on Fukushima nuclear accident details health risks. (2013). Accessed September 5, 2013.

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